After six months on the Fleet News test car fleet, the IS 300h has returned to Lexus.
It was the second hybrid that I’ve had on long-term test (the first was the Honda Jazz) and I think I’m a convert.
I enjoy the quiet driving style of hybrids and the instant torque they offer.
For a premium saloon, the IS 300h also has class-leading CO2 emissions of 99g/km - below key rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Back when I tested the Jazz for 12 months at the end of 2011 its emissions were 104g/km – and that’s a supermini – so it’s a sign of the progress that hybrids have made that the IS 300h is sub-100g/km.
While the Jazz is a ‘mild hybrid’ (the electric motor simply assists the petrol engine) the IS 300h is a ‘full hybrid’, meaning the electric motor can power the car for short periods at low speeds.
I regularly coasted around town on electric only – sometimes at 30mph – in the IS 300h.
It also has a ‘snow’ setting (which I didn’t get chance to put to the test), as well as ‘sport’, ‘normal’ and ‘eco’ modes.
I did much of my driving in ‘eco’ to get maximum fuel economy. In the end the IS 300h was within 10mpg of the official combined figure of 65.7mpg, which is a decent return.
My only real grumble was with some of the in-car technology. The sat-nav (which is a pricey optional extra at just under £2,000) wasn’t as intuitive as it should be and the joystick controller (which operates like a computer mouse) made inputting addresses in the nav fiddly.
However, Lexus is improving this technology. The next generation of this technology, available in the NX, is a touchpad controller which should be easier to use.